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Seoul mulls discussion with N. Korea on sending cheering squad to World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

North Korea 11:24 September 25, 2019

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry said Wednesday that it is considering discussions with North Korea about sending a cheering squad to Pyongyang for next month's World Cup qualifier between the two Koreas.

On Tuesday, the Korea Football Association (KFA) in Seoul said that it has been informed by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that the North will host South Korea on Oct. 15, as scheduled, for their Group H match in the second round of the Asian qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

"With regard to the World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang itself, the KFA and other relevant agencies will hold discussions on details going forward but the issue of sending a cheering squad requires consultations between the authorities of the two Koreas," Lee Sang-min, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing.

"We will draw up our future plans (on the issue) through consultations with the KFA and other agencies," he added.

North Korea has been unresponsive to Seoul's inquires about details related to athletes' travel and other administrative matters. On Tuesday, the KFA expected that the South Korean players will receive the same treatment in Pyongyang as those in other teams.

It is not yet clear how the South Korean squad would travel to Pyongyang. Some raise the possibility that they could fly to the North Korean capital via Beijing rather than using a direct flight route or vehicles across the inter-Korean border.

The upcoming rare sports event in Pyongyang is regarded as a major chance to bolster contact between the two Koreas at a time when cross-border exchanges have been mostly stalled in recent months amid lack of progress in denuclearization talks.


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